A Gas Station Trick That Puts Money In Your Pocket

The next time you fill up, spend an extra few minutes at the gas station performing a simple, free task, and you’ll put a few dollars right in your pocket.

The secret is air. Most gas stations have a free air pump for your tires available on the side of the station. A lot of stations will also loan you an air gauge to check the tire pressure. The procedure is very very easy and, if you don’t know how to do it, ask the person inside (say that someone/your brother/etc. suggested you check your tires for air pressure but you don’t know how). Almost always, you’ll be able to get someone to show you how.

How does this save money? Each tire that’s underinflated costs you on your gas mileage – on average, it’s about 3.3% of your gas mileage, which amounts to about $0.07 a gallon given current gas prices. I usually spend about 40 gallons a month, so that adds up to about $3 a month, simply from checking my tire pressure once a month or so.

Another tip: if you are willing to look at your own air filter once a month or so – also very simple, and explained in your car manual, but a bit more work – and brush it off really well, you can save about $0.15 a gallon, which means about $6 in my pocket each month without much effort and no supply costs.

But what if you don’t want the inconvenience of airing up your tire? It does take a bit of time, so a way to get around it is to have it done at each car maintenance. Ask them to check the pressure on your tires; most places will do this and air your tires up as a complimentary service along with the maintenance you’re getting (at least, both of the places I’ve frequented over the years have done this). So, don’t hesitate to ask for it when you’re getting maintenance on your car.